NPR’s Barbershop Predicted the Super Bowl With Stunning Accuracy

Michel Martin's Feb. 4 guests were right on the money

Some impressive prognostication from journalists Kevin Blackistone, Pablo Torre and Lenny McAllister.
Headshot of Richard Horgan

The latest edition of Barbershop, a media-roundtable discussion heard on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend, was taped just ahead of Super Bowl LI. The Feb. 4 participants were Washington Post sports columnist Kevin Blackistone, New York-based ESPN senior writer Pablo Torre and freelance political commentator Lenny McAllister.

When host Michel Martin brought up the issue of Deflategate, reminding listeners about the scandal’s contextual connection to the Patriots competing for a fifth Super Bowl, she asked Blackistone if it was time for people to finally give quarterback Tom Brady his props:

“Well, of course. But the only way to really see him get his props and to enjoy it would be for the Patriots to win and for Roger Goodell to have to shake his hand and hand him the trophy – and maybe the MVP trophy. I mean, that’s the comic cynic in me that wants to see that happen.”

“And remember, it’s not only Deflategate, but there was also Spygate back in 2007 which really begin to discolor the white hat that the Patriots had worn since 9/11 into the NFL and really painted them as this kind of Darth Vader, diabolical team that you can’t trust and is always up to something underhanded in order to get ahead. So this is going to be–this could be a real comedy at the end.”

Of course, it turned out to be a real tragedy at the end, for the Falcons. The mental toughness of the Patriots powered through a 25-point game deficit and a mark at the beginning of the fourth quarter (down by 19 points) that no NFL team had previously surmounted in the post-season.

At the end of the Barbershop discussion, when Martin asked for Super Bowl LI final-score predictions, all panelists were spot-on, especially McAllister. Blackistone said the Patriots were going to win 27-24; Torre predicted a final score favoring New England of 31-28. And McAllister concurred, adding, “I unfortunately think that the Patriots are going to win by six points.”

Below is one of the cleverer wordplay-headlines this morning that touches on Deflategate. It comes from the Los Angeles Daily News.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.